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also known as Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

Aguirre, the Wrath of God1972

  • 4.4
The first collaboration between director Werner Herzog and star Klaus Kinski, this freely-imagined yet fact-inspired tale of Spanish conquistadors searching for a mythical "city of gold" in 16th-century Peru was a career landmark for both Herzog and Kinski and an artistic landmark for cinema. Shot on location under extraordinarily difficult conditions, AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD portrays the doomed expedition's descent into murder and madness as it penetrates ever-deeper into the then-uncharted Amazonian interior. Already a cult figure in Europe, Kinski fascinated international audiences with the intensity of his maniacally driven Don Lope de Aguirre. The staggering landscapes exquisitely shot by director of photography Thomas Mauch and an ethereal score by Florian Fricke's progressive-rock outfit Popul Vuh heightened the film's otherworldly air. AGUIRRE was an immediate critical and artistic triumph that has only grown in stature as a world classic in the decades since. It is a mesmerizing experience that invites repeat viewings. - Dennis Harvey

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"...one of the great haunting visions of the cinema." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


3 members like this review

Magnificent work from the always amazing Werner Herzog. A rich and intense performance by Klaus Kinski. Tremendous film!!!!

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top reviewer
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Member Reviews (38)

8e32db320b044d21fd13ccc9039e0567?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2ffemale%2favatar f 0070
top reviewer

Brilliant, hypnotic, and devastating. On my list of the 10 greatest films ever made. Also, arguably a better adaptation of Heart of Darkness than Apocalypse Now.

8 members like this review
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staff

It would be fun to hear what the other nine films on your top ten list are.

Wrong. Aguirre, the Wrath of God is not an adaptation of Heart of Darkness. It has similarities to Heart of Darkness, but it's not an adaptation. Apocalypse Now is an adaptation of Conrad's novel, and was also greatly influenced by Herzog's film.

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top reviewer

Magnificent work from the always amazing Werner Herzog. A rich and intense performance by Klaus Kinski. Tremendous film!!!!

3 members like this review
42bb493f4068f35e381f45968469ef09?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0076
top reviewer

THIS IS ONE OF THE GREAT FILMS OF OUR TIME!

3 members like this review

This was tiresome to watch. As per usual Herzog, his movies are a combination of amazing mixed with fairly poor, not really thought-out, scenes. This film was no different. It's almost as if the editor didn't want to cut any of the takes --just threw it all together--but then there are the occasional edits that are absolutely masterful...I don't get it. I kept watching though, as with all Herzog movies. I will give Herzog that, his movies pull you in and stay with you well after they're over...good or bad.

2 members like this review

Yes, it was very slowwwwww!

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filmmaker

Werner Herzog. Always amazing.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

A fantastic film--easily one of the greatest of all time--that nevertheless manages to make a relatively paltry 94 minutes feel like a five hour long Cleopatra-style epic. What an anguishing tale of foolishness Herzog weaves here; what a charismatic maniac Kinski portrays. I feel reticence to ever watch this again. Are we not all Aguirre in some way? I feel his determination, I feel his steadfast defiance towards god even in the face of abject ruin.

In my opinion, this movie serves as a perfect day-and-night parallel to Fitzcarraldo - similar in that nature to Joyce's "Ulysess" and "finnegans wake." In many respects Aguirre is the Yin to Fitzcarraldo's lighter, whiter, fierier Yang. I much prefer Fitzcarraldo in fact, if for no other reason than its relatively lighthearted perspective. Aguirre, though a much better movie, is painful to watch.

1 member likes this review

I completely agree! The music in both films are interesting too. Aguirre is forcing the music out of the native, while Fitzcarraldo is determined to spread western music. Both are huge symbols of conquest.

20e2d34fa40e8f79b2cadb5e6bab5e0d?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0013
top reviewer

Unforgettable images from the opening scene of an ant trail of conquistadors descending from the clouds to the jungle floor to the closing scene of whirling madness. The jungle is a green quagmire where death comes from any direction at any moment while Kinski is as menacing as the jungle. When he’s listening to a dancing pan flutist, Aguirre looks like he might smite him dead at any moment.

This masterpiece will probably be watched as long as people watch movies.

1 member likes this review

Unbelievable. You can tell this wasn't an easy shoot. Misery takes the lead and never relinquishes it. Even Aguirre doesn't pretend to be leading a noble cause. He is the wrath of God. He destroys. Aguirre knows what he does well, but the jungle and the river can't be matched.

1 member likes this review

Like Shelley once wrote:

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

1 member likes this review

It is just so GOOD! says Yuno BRUNO in Love!

1 member likes this review

On Roger Ebert's top 10 list.

1 member likes this review

This movie is so, so good, one of the best,

and the story of the making of the movie

is also exceptional.....

1 member likes this review

Hay, Mito M., tvhilton is talking in metaphors so please do not bother, and I am sorry that you have to be my target but I am so tired of these fundamentalist or somethings chiming in with their literal readings of comments when just by reading tvhilton's penetrating insight about conquests and yes I agree totally Herzog by definition is clear in his objective and he gets the point across in such sublime clarity that makes Francis a little bit muddied but then it is never one or another.

1 member likes this review

Amazing cinematography. Sort of a floating Heart of Darkness!

1 member likes this review

Have you read the Heart of Darkness by Conrad. It floats on water.

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top reviewer

Flawlessly savage, beautiful and a completely unique vision that could never be realized but anyone that Herzog and his demented muse, Kinski. Required viewing. WRATH is one of the most important films in cinematic history.

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top reviewer

Beautiful, interesting, haunting, and even funny at times. There's not a moment in this movie that falls short. A very entertaining descent into madness brought to life by Klaus Kinski, highlighting the ridiculousness of imperialism, ethnocentrism, and the dominance of nature over man.

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top reviewer

Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski's masterpiece of the seventies. I can't be sure if part of the reason this film is so brilliant, is related to the turbulent relationship between the actor and the director, I believe it helped fuel this gem, into one of the all time greatest films of all time. Kinski's wonderful, and the cinematography is exquisite, simply put, a masterpiece

0a88218a5e4e73186177009ca0c927ec?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2ffemale%2favatar f 0082
top reviewer

love it

Wonderously filmed.

Watch high-quality movies and always upgrade them to good quality

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I'm currently taking Werner Herzogs Masterclass on filmmaking. I'll be honest, not very familiar with his work, but when he said he writes his screenplays in 5 days I was enticed to watch one of his films.

It's interesting to watch a film made in the early 70's more or less stand the test of time. What I can appreciate is the beautiful cinematography and limited special effects give the film an organic feeling of the time in 1500's. But where I couldn't get lost in the film was the acting- lots of emoting and 1 note characters. Very "dramatic" but not very interesting. There were times when Kinski would deliver a cold-blooded monologue I could appreciate, but his overall delivery was a bit awkward in terms of reality. Like, you're really just going to let the emperor throw the horse overboard and not say anything to make your character a little bit redeemable? Although the scenes with his daughter are very tender, that relationship isn't fleshed out enough to make me as the viewer want to be on his side. To me, it comes off as creepy- especially in the end. When that's your main character, an hour and a half of an unlikable character becomes boring. But as a woman viewer, I will say I am extremely more interested in character development and relationship between characters. I understand the psychology of perhaps an angsty man/boy viewing this would get a completely different experience with the violence and conquest aspect. Neither way is "right" or "wrong," just saying why this film didn't work for me personally.

The opening scene was so beautiful, and my favorite character was the Incan prince. I thought his character was the most likable and he would have easily stolen the show if he was given more lines. Lucky for Kinski that he wasn't! I also am fascinated that this budget for this film was $370,000 (feels like it should have been more.) And that final shot! A 360 degree rotation in the Amazon river while a hoard of real monkeys overtake the set? Iconic. Everything else was pretty forgettable in my humble opinion.

With his dark, deadpan dialogue, Herzog brilliantly shows how what we consider extreme is actually an excruciatingly real and even ongoing part of history and human nature. Any tediousness in this journey is perfectly necessary and even moral. It would be unethical to be comfortably entertained by images of exploitation, and unlike many directors, Herzog remains respectful while still making a riveting movie. However, this film is so bitter at times that the only thing you or anyone else can do is laugh. In the end, Herzog's unflinching acknowledgment of the ugliness of imperialism is beautiful and vital.

Chaotic, frenetic, pointless, arrogant, brutal and bright red blood. Herzog makes interesting films. Kinski is an interesting actor. Beautiful lush forests. Loose story, but this is more emotions and images than the narrative.

Witness the colonial mind devouring itself. A heaving historical fever dream of Wagnerian scale; the opening half hour features Herzog's infamous full-cast raft stunt and some truly jaw-dropping cinematography. Kinski's Aguirre is a depraved Odysseus, a dogged, charismatic madman dragging his starving crew from episode to bloody episode. This is a brutal, flawed film about Christianity, greed, and violence. Light on dialogue and orchestral cues, "Aguirre" largely fails as a character drama, especially in its considerably dry second half, in which it eventually ceases to be a narrative so much as a motion Raft Of The Medusa. Herzog handicaps himself by choosing a story about such unsavory, stupid subjects; to his credit, he never asks the audience to sympathize with the colonizers, but it is nevertheless difficult to maintain interest in their doomed crusade. With that aside, between the lush, sweeping, biblical imagery of the exposition and the hallucinatory payoff of the final scene, the film's faults are largely forgivable - it is an astonishing, passionate work of art.

Meditative till it strikes like a cobra. Legendary performance by Klaus Kinski, but all the acting is superb.

Forget method acting, Kinski is possessed. I am certain the helmet sprouted and grew on his head. He is King of the monkeys prior to the monkey scene, watch him "monkey". A live chicken is not safe near Guzman, he is a magnanimous pig.

Madness embodied in film.

Magnificent work!!

There's a lot to admire about this film, and I was all the more impressed after I read more about it (which I always do only after watching.) However, there were too many inconsistencies and, what I consider, glaring errors. Many of them can be found on IMDb, but others might include SPOILER, the building of a jail for one prisoner when there were so many more important issues to deal with, the river rose 15 feet without anyone noticing (no guards at night?), Aguirre says (I think) that he'll withhold water from those he dislikes yet they are in the centre of a vast freshwater river, and, most importantly, the story is supposedly being recreated from the diary of the priest, yet he states one of the men drank his ink and he could no longer write. Yes, there are always inconsistencies in film (Citizen Kane anyone?) yet these issues and other distracted me from what otherwise would have been a very good film. Still, it is well-worth watching. Some of the scenes, like the descending trail, are fabulous, and Kinski is superb. I would have given it three-and-a-half stars were I able.

Difficult.

I absolutely love this film. I have watched it probably 10 or more times. The opening sequence is my all-time favorite.

i shouted things like 'oh hell yeah!' and 'oh shit!' multiple times while watching this film.

Interesting. Didn't love it. Didn't hate it.

I just likes it.

It was well acted and set, but story missed a more developed plot

Wonderfully atmospheric, delves into the darkness of ambition.

Great Movie, man trying to find reality in chaos.

What an incredibly stupid and boring film that goes nowhere. It has no script and the poorest of acting imaginable.